Johnson group

The Johnson group at Grandma’s Marathon included (from left) Jeff Firkus, Mitch Osterholt, Grace Johnson, Jason Johnson, Clark Johnson, and Calhoun Gerber.

Three members of the Johnson family, including a cross country captain, were among the Quad News area runners at Grandma’s Marathon on June 22.

Grace Johnson, 17, covered the 26.2 miles from Two Harbors in Duluth in four minutes, 39 minutes, 32 seconds, then waited for her dad, Jason, 44, and brother, Clark, 20, who finished in 5:02:26 and 5:02:55, respectively.

“There were actually six of us,” said Grace Johnson, Centennial senior-to-be. “Our buddy Calhoun Gerber came along, and two friends of my dad, Jeff Firkus and Mitch Osterholt. And we had lots of extended family there cheering us on.”

Gerber, a Circle Pines resident like the Johnsons, ran with Jason and Clark Johnson most of the way, and finished in 5:02:48. Firkus, of Marine on St. Croix, finished in 3:35:25. Osterholt, of Maplewood, finished in 3:39:37.

The Johnson delegation in Duluth totaled 27 people, including the runners.

This was the fourth marathon for Jason, and the first for Grace and Clark, who did a half-marathon together last year.

The group effort was the idea of a fourth Johnson who wound up not being able to run with them.

“My sister Claire is the one who was really excited about us doing this,” Grace said. “But she had to have surgery.”

Claire, a junior-to-be who’s a Cougar runner and basketball player like Grace, needed surgery for a congenital problem with bones in her feet, so she’ll be sidelined for a while.

Grace, a three-time state qualifier in cross country, said she made sure not to over-do it in her first marathon, not with cross country coming up.

“I was a little sore, but I’m taking two weeks off before captains’ practices,” she said.

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